With less than a month until pitchers and catchers report, the hot stove is warm. This week, J.T. Realmuto and Marcus Semien found homes, while Nolan Arenado was reportedly on the cusp of being traded to the Cardinals as of Friday night. Who else might sign in the coming days? Here are the latest rumblings from the hot stove.
Twins remain in talks with Cruz
Nelson Cruz is coming off a tremendous two-year run with the Twins, during which he homered 57 times in 173 games and posted a 168 OPS+. While the two sides have yet to reach an agreement on a new deal, the door remains open.
Twins executive vice president Derek Falvey said during the club's virtual fan fest on Saturday that Minnesota remains in touch with Cruz. In fact, Falvey said the conversations "remain active and productive," per Betsy Helfand of the Pioneer Press.
The lack of a universal DH would seem to limit Cruz's free-agent options and point toward an eventual return to the Twin Cities.
White Sox bring back Rodon
Earlier in the offseason, the White Sox non-tendered lefty Carlos Rodon, formerly the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft. Now, it appears the two sides have reunited, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
Rodon, 28, has been limited by Tommy John surgery to 42 innings over the last two seasons. Prior to that, he'd been an effective, if somewhat inconsistent mid-rotation type. From 2015-18, he amassed 494 innings and a 102 ERA+.
Astros sign Souza
Astros GM James Click was part of the Rays front office when Tampa Bay traded Trea Turner and Joe Ross to the Nationals for outfielder Steven Souza Jr. That deal didn't work out, but Click still appears to have a soft spot for Souza: on Saturday, the Astros agreed to terms with him on a contract, per MLB Network's Jon Morosi.
Souza, 32 come April, hasn't had an effective big-league season since 2017. In the years since, he's posted a 77 OPS+ in 303 plate appearances, having missed significant time because of injuries. Last season, Souza appeared in just 11 games with the Cubs before being ushered out of town. He went four for 27 with 15 strikeouts versus one home run and four walks.
Souza should have a chance at securing a part-time role with the Astros. Houston lost George Springer to free agency, but retained Michael Brantley. Both Brantley and Kyle Tucker are left-handed hitters, in contrast to the righty Souza.
Braves ink Edwards Jr.
Edwards Jr., 29, once seemed positioned to be a long-term high-leverage option for the Cubs. From 2016-18, he averaged 56 appearances and maintained a 141 ERA+ and 2.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Edwards Jr. had a brutal 2019, and missed most of 2020 because of a strained forearm. The Braves will try to help him return to form.